What causes sleep talking?

September 1, 2020 3 mins read
What causes sleep talking?

Have you discovered that you, your partner, or your child are sleep talking? Most people experience this common sleep issue at some point in their lives, and it’s not something you need to worry about. But, if you’re feeling a little embarrassed or worried about spilling the beans when talking in your sleep, keep reading.

What is sleep talking?

Somniloquy (or sleep talking) is a common sleep issue where you talk in your sleep without being aware of it. You can have complete monologues or even dialogues while asleep, or it can manifest as gibberish or mumbling. Talking in your sleep can occur in both the REM and non-REM stages of sleep in the sleep cycle and affects adults and children alike.

What are the main causes of sleep talking?

Researchers are not sure what causes somniloquy, although it’s been found that stress, mental health, medication, and genetics play a part.

  • Stress: if you are stressed, your brain can struggle to shut down completely. Your subconscious mind might be working overtime while you are asleep and trigger sleep talking.
  • Genetics: some believe that somniloquy runs in families. If you talk in your sleep, chances are your children or grandchildren will do the same.
  • Mental health and substance abuse: sleep experts say that mental health and substance abuse can be possible causes.
  • Medications: chat with your doctor about how the medications you are taking can affect your sleep. If the medication has a stimulating effect, it can make you more restless at night, causing you to talk in your sleep. Certain psychiatric medications can trigger REM sleep behavior disorder, causing talking and even shouting during sleep.

How to stop talking in your sleep

There is no quick fix to eliminate talking in your sleep entirely, but there are a few ways you can try to improve the overall quality of your sleep, which should help reduce the problem.

There is no quick fix to eliminate talking in your sleep entirely, but there are a few ways you can try to improve the overall quality of your sleep, which should help reduce the problem.

  • Practice good sleep hygiene. Even if you don’t talk in your sleep, good sleep hygiene should be a priority.
  • Set a healthy sleep schedule. Going to bed and waking up at the same time each day can improve your sleep quality, reducing the risk of sleep issues.
  • Reduce stress. Experiencing stress in your daily life can increase your chances of talking in your sleep.
  • Change your diet. The foods you eat, when you eat, and how much you eat can influence the quality of your sleep. If you eat a large meal before bed, it can make you feel restless at night.

Is it bad to wake up a sleep talker?

There is no harm in waking up someone who is sleep talking, but doing so will take them out of their sleep cycles and disrupt their sleep even more. It is up to you to decide whether to leave them sleeping or nudge them awake.

Sleep talking in children

Somniloquy is one of the most common sleep problems in children, and you most likely have nothing to worry about if your child talks in their sleep. One thing to keep in mind is that stress or traumatic events in a child’s life can trigger episodes of sleep talking.

If you want to reduce talking in your sleep, start by incorporating lifestyle changes to promote better sleep. Try and get into a sleep routine, eat a light dinner, and engage in some relaxing activities before bedtime.

Actions speak louder than words. If you incorporate these into your lifestyle, you can increase your chances of having a silent night.